ResearchPad - learning-and-memory Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The effects of age and sex on cognitive impairment in schizophrenia: Findings from the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS) study]]> Recently emerging evidence indicates accelerated age-related changes in the structure and function of the brain in schizophrenia, raising a question about its potential consequences on cognitive function. Using a large sample of schizophrenia patients and controls and a battery of tasks across multiple cognitive domains, we examined whether patients show accelerated age-related decline in cognition and whether an age-related effect differ between females and males. We utilized data of 1,415 schizophrenia patients and 1,062 healthy community collected by the second phase of the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (COGS-2). A battery of cognitive tasks included the Letter-Number Span Task, two forms of the Continuous Performance Test, the California Verbal Learning Test, Second Edition, the Penn Emotion Identification Test and the Penn Facial Memory Test. The effect of age and gender on cognitive performance was examined with a general linear model. We observed age-related changes on most cognitive measures, which was similar between males and females. Compared to controls, patients showed greater deterioration in performance on attention/vigilance and greater slowness of processing social information with increasing age. However, controls showed greater age-related changes in working memory and verbal memory compared to patients. Age-related changes (η2p of 0.001 to .008) were much smaller than between-group differences (η2p of 0.005 to .037). This study found that patients showed continued decline of cognition on some domains but stable impairment or even less decline on other domains with increasing age. These findings indicate that age-related changes in cognition in schizophrenia are subtle and not uniform across multiple cognitive domains.

<![CDATA[Using case-level context to classify cancer pathology reports]]> Individual electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical reports are often part of a larger sequence—for example, a single patient may generate multiple reports over the trajectory of a disease. In applications such as cancer pathology reports, it is necessary not only to extract information from individual reports, but also to capture aggregate information regarding the entire cancer case based off case-level context from all reports in the sequence. In this paper, we introduce a simple modular add-on for capturing case-level context that is designed to be compatible with most existing deep learning architectures for text classification on individual reports. We test our approach on a corpus of 431,433 cancer pathology reports, and we show that incorporating case-level context significantly boosts classification accuracy across six classification tasks—site, subsite, laterality, histology, behavior, and grade. We expect that with minimal modifications, our add-on can be applied towards a wide range of other clinical text-based tasks.

<![CDATA[Participant and informant memory-specific cognitive complaints predict future decline and incident dementia: Findings from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study]]> Subjective Cognitive Complaints (SCCs) may represent one of the earliest stages of preclinical dementia. The objective of the present study was to extend previous work by our group to examine the relationship between participant-reported and informant-reported memory and non-memory SCCs, cognitive decline and incident dementia, over a six-year period. Participants were 873 community dwelling older adults (Mage = 78.65, SD = 4.79) without dementia and 843 informants (close friends or family) from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study. Comprehensive neuropsychological testing and diagnostic assessments were carried out at baseline and biennially for six years. Linear mixed models and Cox proportional hazard models were performed to determine the association of SCCs, rate of cognitive decline and risk of incident dementia, controlling demographics and covariates of mood and personality. Participant and informant memory-specific SCCs were associated with rate of global cognitive decline; for individual cognitive domains, participant memory SCCs predicted decline for language, while informant memory SCCs predicted decline for executive function and memory. Odds of incident dementia were associated with baseline participant memory SCCs and informant memory and non-memory SCCs in partially adjusted models. In fully adjusted models, only informant SCCs were associated with increased risk of incident dementia. Self-reported memory-specific cognitive complaints are associated with decline in global cognition over 6-years and may be predictive of incident dementia, particularly if the individual is depressed or anxious and has increased neuroticism or decreased openness. Further, if and where possible, informants should be sought and asked to report on their perceptions of the individual’s memory ability and any memory-specific changes that they have noticed as these increase the index of diagnostic suspicion.

<![CDATA[Adaptation to unstable coordination patterns in individual and joint actions]]> Previous research on interlimb coordination has shown that some coordination patterns are more stable than others, and function as attractors in the space of possible phase relations between different rhythmic movements. The canonical coordination patterns, i.e. the two most stable phase relations, are in-phase (0 degree) and anti-phase (180 degrees). Yet, musicians are able to perform other coordination patterns in intrapersonal as well as in interpersonal coordination with remarkable precision. This raises the question of how music experts manage to produce these unstable patterns of movement coordination. In the current study, we invited participants with at least five years of training on a musical instrument. We used an adaptation paradigm to address two factors that may facilitate producing unstable coordination patterns. First, we investigated adaptation in different coordination settings, to test the hypothesis that the lower coupling strength between individuals during joint performance makes it easier to achieve stability outside of the canonical patterns than the stronger coupling during individual bimanual performance. Second, we investigated whether adding to the structure of action effects may support achieving unstable coordination patterns, both intra- and inter-individually. The structure of action effects was strengthened by adding a melodic contour to the action effects, a measure that has been shown to improve the acquisition of bimanual coordination skills. Adaptation performance was measured both in terms of asynchrony and variability thereof. As predicted, we found that producing unstable patterns benefitted from the weaker coupling during joint performance. Surprisingly, the structure of action effects did not help with achieving unstable coordination patterns.

<![CDATA[Emotional facial perception development in 7, 9 and 11 year-old children: The emergence of a silent eye-tracked emotional other-race effect]]> The present study examined emotional facial perception (happy and angry) in 7, 9 and 11-year-old children from Caucasian and multicultural environments with an offset task for two ethnic groups of faces (Asian and Caucasian). In this task, participants were required to respond to a dynamic facial expression video when they believed that the first emotion presented had disappeared. Moreover, using an eye-tracker, we evaluated the ocular behavior pattern used to process these different faces. The analyses of reaction times do not show an emotional other-race effect (i.e., a facility in discriminating own-race faces over to other-race ones) in Caucasian children for Caucasian vs. Asian faces through offset times, but an effect of emotional face appeared in the oldest children. Furthermore, an eye-tracked ocular emotion and race-effect relative to processing strategies is observed and evolves between age 7 and 11. This study strengthens the interest in advancing an eye-tracking study in developmental and emotional processing studies, showing that even a “silent” effect should be detected and shrewdly analyzed through an objective means.

<![CDATA[Fingerprint evidence for the division of labour and learning pottery-making at Early Bronze Age Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel]]>

The organization of craft production has long been a marker for broader social, economic and political changes that accompanied urbanism. The identity of producers who comprised production groups, communities, or workshops is out of reach using conventional archaeological data. There has been some success using epidermal prints on artefacts to identify the age and sex of producers. However, forensic research indicates that a combination of ridge breadth and ridge density would best identify the age and sex of individuals. To this end, we combine mean ridge breadth (MRB) and mean ridge density (MRD) to distinguish the age and sex of 112 fingerprints on Early Bronze Age (EB) III pottery from the early urban neighbourhood at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel, dating to a 100 year time span. Our analysis accounts for the shrinkage of calcareous fabrics used to make six type of vessels, applies a modified version of the Kamp et al. regression equation to the MRB for each individual print, and infers sex by correlating MRD data to appropriate modern reference populations. When the results are combined, our analyses indicate that most fingerprints were made by adult and young males and the remainder by adult and young females. Children’s prints are in evidence but only occur on handles. Multiple prints of different age and sex on the same vessels suggest they were impressed during the training of young potters. Production appears dominated by adult and young males working alone, together, and in cooperation with adult and/or young females. Vessels with prints exclusively by females of any age are rare. This male dominant cooperative labour pattern contrasts recent studies showing that adult women primarily made Neolithic figurines in Anatolia, and more females than males were making pottery prior to the rise of city-states in northern Mesopotamia.

<![CDATA[Tsinghua facial expression database – A database of facial expressions in Chinese young and older women and men: Development and validation]]>

Perception of facial identity and emotional expressions is fundamental to social interactions. Recently, interest in age associated changes in the processing of faces has grown rapidly. Due to the lack of older faces stimuli, most previous age-comparative studies only used young faces stimuli, which might cause own-age advantage. None of the existing Eastern face stimuli databases contain face images of different age groups (e.g. older adult faces). In this study, a database that comprises images of 110 Chinese young and older adults displaying eight facial emotional expressions (Neutral, Happiness, Anger, Disgust, Surprise, Fear, Content, and Sadness) was constructed. To validate this database, each image was rated on the basis of perceived facial expressions, perceived emotional intensity, and perceived age by two different age groups. Results have shown an overall 79.08% correct identification rate in the validation. Access to the freely available database can be requested by emailing the corresponding authors.

<![CDATA[Towards a fully automated surveillance of well-being status in laboratory mice using deep learning: Starting with facial expression analysis]]>

Assessing the well-being of an animal is hindered by the limitations of efficient communication between humans and animals. Instead of direct communication, a variety of parameters are employed to evaluate the well-being of an animal. Especially in the field of biomedical research, scientifically sound tools to assess pain, suffering, and distress for experimental animals are highly demanded due to ethical and legal reasons. For mice, the most commonly used laboratory animals, a valuable tool is the Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS), a coding system for facial expressions of pain in mice. We aim to develop a fully automated system for the surveillance of post-surgical and post-anesthetic effects in mice. Our work introduces a semi-automated pipeline as a first step towards this goal. A new data set of images of black-furred laboratory mice that were moving freely is used and provided. Images were obtained after anesthesia (with isoflurane or ketamine/xylazine combination) and surgery (castration). We deploy two pre-trained state of the art deep convolutional neural network (CNN) architectures (ResNet50 and InceptionV3) and compare to a third CNN architecture without pre-training. Depending on the particular treatment, we achieve an accuracy of up to 99% for the recognition of the absence or presence of post-surgical and/or post-anesthetic effects on the facial expression.

<![CDATA[Beware of vested interests: Epistemic vigilance improves reasoning about scientific evidence (for some people)]]>

In public disputes, stakeholders sometimes misrepresent statistics or other types of scientific evidence to support their claims. One of the reasons this is problematic is that citizens often do not have the motivation nor the cognitive skills to accurately judge the meaning of statistics and thus run the risk of being misinformed. This study reports an experiment investigating the conditions under which people become vigilant towards a source’s claim and thus reason more carefully about the supporting evidence. For this, participants were presented with a claim by a vested-interest or a neutral source and with statistical evidence which was cited by the source as being in support of the claim. However, this statistical evidence actually contradicted the source’s claim but was presented as a contingency table, which are typically difficult for people to interpret correctly. When the source was a lobbyist arguing for his company’s product people were better at interpreting the evidence compared to when the same source argued against the product. This was not the case for a different vested-interests source nor for the neutral source. Further, while all sources were rated as less trustworthy when participants realized that the source had misrepresented the evidence, only for the lobbyist source was this seen as a deliberate attempt at deception. Implications for research on epistemic trust, source credibility effects and science communication are discussed.

<![CDATA[Children’s descriptions of playing and learning as related processes]]>

Many studies have examined children’s understanding of playing and learning as separate concepts, but the ways that children relate playing and learning to one another remain relatively unexplored. The current study asked 5- to 8-year-olds (N = 92) to define playing and learning, and examined whether children defined them as abstract processes or merely as labels for particular types of activities. We also asked children to state whether playing and learning can occur simultaneously, and examined whether they could give examples of playing and learning with attributes either congruent or incongruent with those activities. Older children were more likely to define both playing and learning in terms of abstract processes, rather than by describing particular topics or activities. Children who defined both playing and learning in this way were able to generate more examples of situations where they were simultaneously playing and learning, and were better able to generate examples of learning with characteristics of play, and examples of playing with characteristics of learning. These data suggest that children develop an understanding that learning and playing can coincide. These results are critical to researchers and educators who seek to integrate play and learning, as children’s beliefs about these concepts can influence how they reflect on playful learning opportunities.

<![CDATA[Readiness to prescribe: Using educational design to untie the Gordian Knot]]>


Junior residents routinely prescribe medications for hospitalised patients with only arms-length supervision, which compromises patient safety. A cardinal example is insulin prescribing, which is commonplace, routinely delegated to very junior doctors, difficult, potentially very dangerous, and getting no better. Our aim was to operationalise the concept of ‘readiness to prescribe’ by validating an instrument to quality-improve residents’ workplace prescribing education.


Guided by theories of behaviour change, implementation, and error, and by empirical evidence, we developed and refined a mixed-methods 24-item evaluation instrument, and analysed numerical responses from Foundation Trainees (junior residents) in Northern Ireland, UK using principal axis factoring, and conducted a framework analysis of participants’ free-text responses.


255 trainees participated, 54% women and 46% men, 80% of whom were in the second foundation year. The analysis converged on a 4-factor solution explaining 57% of the variance. Participants rated their capability to prescribe higher (79%) than their capability to learn to prescribe (69%; p<0.001) and rated the support to their prescribing education lower still (43%; p<0.001). The findings were similar in men and women, first and second year trainees, and in different hospitals. Free text responses described an unreflective type of learning from experience in which participants tended to 'get by' when faced with complex problems.


Operationalising readiness to prescribe as a duality, comprising residents’ capability and the fitness of their educational environments, demonstrated room for improvement in both. We offer the instrument to help clinical educators improve the two in tandem.

<![CDATA[Gaze direction reveals implicit item and source memory in older adults]]>

This study looked at eye movements in relation to source memory in older adults. Participants first studied images of common objects appearing in different quadrants of a screen. After a delay, they were shown cues one at a time presented in all four quadrants. Participants stated whether or not the cue had been seen before and in which location. Participants also rated level of confidence in their responses. In trials where participants either claimed they have not seen a previously presented cue or placed it in an incorrect location, they looked significantly more at the correct quadrant. The proportion of time looking at the correct quadrants during incorrect responses was not related to confidence ratings. These results suggest that eye gaze during the memory task does not reflect memory retrieval below the threshold of verbal report. They instead point to an implicit form of source memory in humans that is accessible to eye movements but not to verbal responses.

<![CDATA[Student engagement, assessed using heart rate, shows no reset following active learning sessions in lectures]]>

Heart rate can be used as a measure of cognitive engagement. We measured average student heart rates during medical school lecture classes using wristwatch-style monitors. Analysis of 42 classes showed a steady decline in heart rate from the beginning to end of a lecture class. Active learning sessions (peer-discussion based problem solving) resulted in a significant uptick in heart rate, but this returned to the average level immediately following the active learning period. This is the first statistically robust assessment of changes in heart rate during the course of college lecture classes and indicates that personal heart rate monitors may be useful tools for assessment of different teaching modalities. The key findings suggest that the value of active learning within the classroom resides in the activity itself and not in an increase in engagement or reset in attention during the didactic period following an active learning session.

<![CDATA[Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis]]>

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects. We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials. Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.

<![CDATA[Independent working memory resources for egocentric and allocentric spatial information]]>

Visuospatial working memory enables us to maintain access to visual information for processing even when a stimulus is no longer present, due to occlusion, our own movements, or transience of the stimulus. Here we show that, when localizing remembered stimuli, the precision of spatial recall does not rely solely on memory for individual stimuli, but additionally depends on the relative distances between stimuli and visual landmarks in the surroundings. Across three separate experiments, we consistently observed a spatially selective improvement in the precision of recall for items located near a persistent landmark. While the results did not require that the landmark be visible throughout the memory delay period, it was essential that it was visible both during encoding and response. We present a simple model that can accurately capture human performance by considering relative (allocentric) spatial information as an independent localization estimate which degrades with distance and is optimally integrated with egocentric spatial information. Critically, allocentric information was encoded without cost to egocentric estimation, demonstrating independent storage of the two sources of information. Finally, when egocentric and allocentric estimates were put in conflict, the model successfully predicted the resulting localization errors. We suggest that the relative distance between stimuli represents an additional, independent spatial cue for memory recall. This cue information is likely to be critical for spatial localization in natural settings which contain an abundance of visual landmarks.

<![CDATA[Microlearning for patient safety: Crew resource management training in 15-minutes]]>


We sought to establish the feasibility of chunking crew resource management (CRM) training into micro-size interventions and to compare different training approaches in the context of micro-learning.


We evaluated whether participants in micro-learning CRM activities achieved learning objectives following training. In a between-subjects design, groups were observed for behaviour during a simulation that was part of a 15-minute modular intervention and tested for recollection afterwards.


The 129 participants recruited for this study were medical students, who already had relevant experience treating patients.


The experimental setting involved three 5-minute components: video, simulation, and debriefing. Different groups viewed videos involving different didactic concepts: one group observed a videotaped concrete example of a medical care team applying a CRM tool (example group), and one group observed a videotaped lecture on the same topic (lecture group).

Main outcome measures

All simulations were videotaped and coded in detail for the occurrence of and time spent engaging in team behaviour and medical care. Questionnaires were administered before, immediately after, and two weeks after the intervention. We compared the groups’ behaviour during the simulation (team cooperation and medical care), retention of knowledge from the training content, and results of the evaluation.


Both groups exhibited most of the behaviours included in the content of the instructional videos during the simulations and recollected information 2 weeks later. The example group exhibited significantly more of the training content during the simulation and demonstrated better retention 2 weeks later. Although the example group spent more time on team coordination, there was no difference in the number of executed medical measures.


Delivering CRM training in chunks of relatively short and highly standardised interventions appears feasible. In this study, the form of didactical presentation caused a difference in learning success between groups: a traditional lecture was outperformed by an instructional video demonstrating a practical example.

<![CDATA[AutonoMouse: High throughput operant conditioning reveals progressive impairment with graded olfactory bulb lesions]]>

Operant conditioning is a crucial tool in neuroscience research for probing brain function. While molecular, anatomical and even physiological techniques have seen radical increases in throughput, efficiency, and reproducibility in recent years, behavioural tools have somewhat lagged behind. Here we present a fully automated, high-throughput system for self-initiated conditioning of up to 25 group-housed, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged mice over periods of several months and >106 trials. We validate this “AutonoMouse” system in a series of olfactory behavioural tasks and show that acquired data is comparable to previous semi-manual approaches. Furthermore, we use AutonoMouse to systematically probe the impact of graded olfactory bulb lesions on olfactory behaviour, demonstrating that while odour discrimination in general is robust to even most extensive disruptions, small olfactory bulb lesions already impair odour detection. Discrimination learning of similar mixtures as well as learning speed are in turn reliably impacted by medium lesion sizes. The modular nature and open-source design of AutonoMouse should allow for similar robust and systematic assessments across neuroscience research areas.

<![CDATA[A deadline constrained scheduling algorithm for cloud computing system based on the driver of dynamic essential path]]>

To solve the problem of the deadline-constrained task scheduling in the cloud computing system, this paper proposes a deadline-constrained scheduling algorithm for cloud computing based on the driver of dynamic essential path (Deadline-DDEP). According to the changes of the dynamic essential path of each task node in the scheduling process, the dynamic sub-deadline strategy is proposed. The strategy assigns different sub-deadline values to every task node to meet the constraint relations among task nodes and the user’s defined deadline. The strategy fully considers the dynamic sub-deadline affected by the dynamic essential path of task node in the scheduling process. The paper proposed the quality assessment of optimization cost strategy to solve the problem of selecting server for each task node. Based on the sub-deadline urgency and the relative execution cost in the scheduling process, the strategy selects the server that not only meets the sub-deadline but also obtains much lower execution cost. In this way, the proposed algorithm will make the task graph complete within its deadline, and minimize its total execution cost. Finally, we demonstrate the proposed algorithm via the simulation experiments using Matlab tools. The experimental results show that, the proposed algorithm produces remarkable performance improvement rate on the total execution cost that ranges between 10.3% and 30.8% under meeting the deadline constraint. In view of the experimental results, the proposed algorithm provides better-quality scheduling solution that is suitable for scientific application task execution in the cloud computing environment than IC-PCP, DCCP and CD-PCP.

<![CDATA[Cyborg groups enhance face recognition in crowded environments]]>

Recognizing a person in a crowded environment is a challenging, yet critical, visual-search task for both humans and machine-vision algorithms. This paper explores the possibility of combining a residual neural network (ResNet), brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and human participants to create “cyborgs” that improve decision making. Human participants and a ResNet undertook the same face-recognition experiment. BCIs were used to decode the decision confidence of humans from their EEG signals. Different types of cyborg groups were created, including either only humans (with or without the BCI) or groups of humans and the ResNet. Cyborg groups decisions were obtained weighing individual decisions by confidence estimates. Results show that groups of cyborgs are significantly more accurate (up to 35%) than the ResNet, the average participant, and equally-sized groups of humans not assisted by technology. These results suggest that melding humans, BCI, and machine-vision technology could significantly improve decision-making in realistic scenarios.

<![CDATA[Social isolation produces no effect on ultrasonic vocalization production in adult female CBA/CaJ mice]]>

Mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in a wide variety of social contexts, including courtship, investigation, and territorial defense. Despite the belief that mouse USVs are innate, social experience may be necessary for mice to learn the appropriate situation to emit USVs. Mouse USVs have been divided into categories based on their spectrotemporal parameters, but it is currently unclear if social experience changes these parameters (e.g., frequency and duration) or the proportion of calls from each category produced. Social isolation has been found to influence USV production in male mice. To investigate the influence of social isolation on vocal behavior in female mice, recordings were made of USVs emitted to unfamiliar male and female mice by subjects with one of three types of social experience. Twenty-four adult female CBA/CaJ mice either lived alone, lived with other females only, or lived with other females and had limited access to a male. Mice were recorded while in isolation, ensuring all recorded USVs were from the female of interest. Vocalizations were separated into nine categories and peak frequency, duration, and bandwidth were measured for every call. Socially isolated mice did not produce significantly more USVs or USV types than socially experienced mice. Social isolation did not have a significant effect on the features of USVs, suggesting production of USVs may not be learned in female mice.